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NBA Trade Rumors: 5 reasons why Houston Rockets should hold on to James Harden

Houston Rockets v Los Angeles Lakers - Game Five
Houston Rockets v Los Angeles Lakers - Game Five
Modified 17 Dec 2020, 13:50 IST

The biggest transfer story of the current NBA offseason has undoubtedly been James Harden. After 8 successful seasons with the Houston Rockets which saw him win the MVP title in 2018, James Harden confirmed his desire to leave the franchise. In this edition of NBA Trade Rumors, we look at five reasons why the Houston Rockets should not let James Harden leave.

NBA Trade Rumors: 5 reasons why the Houston Rockets should not let James Harden leave

Houston Rockets v Los Angeles Lakers - Game Two
Houston Rockets v Los Angeles Lakers - Game Two


James Harden has been the face of the Houston Rockets franchise for close to 9 years, ever since he was traded from the Oklahoma City Thunders in 2012.

Over the years, James Harden has been the main man for the Houston Rockets, with reports suggesting that most of his on-field and off-field demands were met. A former Houston Rockets’ employee recently even called him the “boss” of the franchise.

This might not have gotten the Houston Rockets an NBA championship, but they have been the only team to make the playoffs every year since James Harden’s arrival.

The Houston Rockets have chosen to stick with their star even when it meant letting go of players that were initially brought in on his behest. Both Paul George and Russel Westbrook had clashed or been in disagreement with James Harden.

However, the Houston Rockets are built around James Harden, and letting him go will relegate them from championship hopefuls to playoff hopefuls.



There is little doubt that James Harden is one of the greatest basketball players of this generation.

The question in recent years has not been whether James Harden is good enough to lead the Houston Rockets to a championship. Instead, it has been whether the Houston Rockets can create a championship-caliber roster around him, something which hasn’t quite happened due to a variety of reasons.

James Harden is one of the best offensive players in the NBA. However, his ball-dominant playing style has often been criticized and is said to have an effect on overall team chemistry.

Regardless, James Harden brings a certain level of offensive ruthlessness and consistency that has become a key feature of the way the Houston Rockets play.


The recent signing of coach Stephen Silas is expected to turn the Houston Rockets into a team that is less dependent upon James Harden for scoring.

Stephen Silas’ system is believed to have more ball-sharing and optionality in terms of playing conventional or small.


Until now, James Harden has failed to lead the Rockets to playoff victories. Having a more de-centralized system might just be what they need to replicate their regular season form during the playoffs.

For now, the Houston Rockets should try their luck again with James Harden and Stephen Silas at the helm.

Lack of offers

James Harden had initially been looking for a move to the Brooklyn Nets to unite with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.

However, with no offer coming, he added the Milwaukee Bucks, Miami Heat and the Philadelphia 76ers to the list of teams he was open to moving.

Meanwhile, the Houston Rockets have so far stuck to their trade demands for James Harden, and rightly so. The franchise has reportedly held out for a “young star with bonafide All-Star potential” along with draft picks, and teams have been reluctant to match the valuation.

Simply put, the Houston Rockets should not let James Harden go simply because of a lack of offers.



Considering the timing of the saga, the Houston Rockets find themselves in a spot of bother. Replacing James Harden is an extremely difficult task as his absence is bound to have a huge effect on the team’s prospects for the upcoming NBA season.

Oklahoma City Thunder v Houston Rockets - Game Seven
Oklahoma City Thunder v Houston Rockets - Game Seven

Harden will not be a free agent until after the 2021-22 season, which gives the Houston Rockets enough time to try convincing him to stay.

In either case, keeping James Harden for the upcoming 2020-21 NBA season seems like the sensible thing to do.

Published 17 Dec 2020, 13:50 IST
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